Seventeen years after playing in his first Super Bowl, Tom Brady is back for his ninth and a rematch with the Rams
It’s been 17 years since the New England Patriots beat the Saint Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. In Super Bowl LIII, New England quarterback Tom Brady’s career comes full circle in a way, as he’ll attempt to win his sixth Super Bowl when the Patriots face the Rams this Sunday in Atlanta.
While New England is making its third consecutive Super Bowl appearance, the Rams are returning to the big game for the first time since they played the Patriots in early 2002.
Here are 10 stats to help get you ready for Super Bowl LIII:
9: Super Bowl appearances by Tom Brady
Sunday marks Brady’s ninth Super Bowl appearance, the most in NFL history. Brady also has been to more Super Bowls than any other franchise (other than New England of course). Dallas, Denver, and Pittsburgh all have made eight appearances. From a player perspective, Mike Lodish, who played for the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos, ranks second on the list with six Super Bowl appearances.
17: Age gap between Brady and Jared Goff
Brady enters Super Bowl LIII at 41 years old, while Goff makes his first Super Bowl start at 24. To be exact, 17 years and 72 days separate Brady and Goff. It's the largest age difference between quarterbacks in Super Bowl history.
33: Age of Los Angels Rams head coach Sean McVay
McVay was just a high school student when the New England super duo of Brady and Bill Belichick won their first Super Bowl together. At age 33, McVay is the youngest head coach to lead his team in a Super Bowl.
38: Players on Patriots roster with Super Bowl experience
According to ESPN Stats & Info, 38 New England players will take the field Sunday with the experience of having played in the big game. Conversely, Los Angeles’ roster features just four players who have Super Bowl experience. Twenty-seven New England players have won a Super Bowl, while three players from the Rams already have a ring.
3: Consecutive Super Bowl appearances by New England
The Patriots are playing in their third consecutive Super Bowl, and they’ve gone 1-1 during that span. The Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills are only the other teams in NFL history to have played in three consecutive Super Bowls.
7: Number of times the Super Bowl has featured rematches
This represents the seventh time the Super Bowl will feature a previous pairing. The experience isn’t new to the Patriots, as last year's big game matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles was a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX.
12: Number of Super Bowl wins by teams in white jerseys
According to ESPN researcher Evan Kaplan, teams wearing white jerseys for the Super Bowl have won 12 of the last 13. Patriot fans will be pleased to know that their team will be wearing their road whites on Sunday. They are 3-2 when doing so in the Super Bowl.
18: Career Super Bowl touchdown passes by Brady
In eight Super Bowl starts, Brady has thrown 18 touchdown passes, easily making him the all-time leader in the category (Joe Montana is next with 11). He also holds the record for pass attempts in a game (62), career pass attempts (357), completions in a game (43), career completions (235), passing yards in a game (505), and career (2,576).
17: Rushing touchdowns by Todd Gurley
Gurley led the league with 17 rushing touchdowns in the regular season. He did that even though he played in just 14 games, missing two due to a knee injury. He has scored twice in the playoffs thus far, although he was limited to just 10 rushing yards on four carries (and one catch for three yards) in the NFC Championship game win over New Orleans. In his only previous meeting with New England, the Patriots held Gurley to 38 yards on 11 carries back in Week 13 of the 2016 season. New England won that game 26-10.
7: Grammy Awards won by Gladys Knight
Knight, affectionally known as the Empress of Soul, will sing the national anthem at Super Bowl LIII. The Atlanta native has accumulated 18 Grammy nominations in her illustrious career, winning seven.
— Written by Elton Hayes, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. A sports reporter for The Meridian Star, Hayes also has been an invited guest on "The Paul Finebaum Show." Follow him on Twitter @EHDC12.